(a short update mainly written 6 days after the fact)
The temperature is a sunny, record setting 18 degrees here in Groningen (the Netherlands). As I knew it was going to be warm I went to have a look in my remaining hive. At first I was planning to do some major “remodeling”. Like reducing the size of the hive and cleaning out dead bees. But more experienced beekeepers advised against this and to wait with this major work until the end of march. So I just took a thorough cursory (can you say that?) look, to check if they had enough stores and see if I could find what we in Dutch abbreviate to BIAS, Brood In All Stages. Stores galore but I didn’t find any brood. I didn’t go through every single frame, only the two or three center frames in both brood boxes. I also forgot to check for eggs but I didn’t find any larva or closed brood. I don’t know for sure but I guess that isn’t a good sign. Perhaps I should check better in a week or two or I will have to clean out a second dead hive when all the long living winter bees have died off. There were bees with pollen coming in not all that many nor did they seem to have full pollen baskets, this then would be a positive indication for brood.
No brood would have to mean that the colony is without a queen. I hope this isn’t so but seeing the luck I’m having with bees so far I’m not keeping my hopes up. If the colony is indeed without queen there is no hope for them as there is no possibility to replace the queen at this time of year. Queen rearing will not start for a few months yet and the first queens will most likely not be ready before June. So all I can do right now is wait and hope for the best.
I Never thought keeping bees would be this difficult or stressful.